Friday, April 24, 2009

Final Thoughts Entering The NFL Draft

One of the things I hate most about Alan Cutler is the one thing my brother routinely tells me avoid -- telling people "I told you so."

But I can't help it.

Nearly 500 days ago -- the day before Ohio State lost to LSU in the BCS championship game -- I wrote the following words about LSU DE Tyson Jackson (this was after he posted 3.5 sacks for the entire season !):

"I haven't seen mock drafts, but if LSU DE Tyson Jackson isn't projected in the top half of round one I'm missing something."

Of course, in a mock draft from last week's Sporting News, Mr. Jackson was projected to go the Broncos in the second round, 48th overall.

I'm just saying.

Other thoughts as the draft approaches:

1. The Lions have to go with Matthew Stafford. Have to. You need a big-armed QB (and Stafford has one of the biggest in recent memory) to go with the game's greatest deep threat, Calvin Johnson. Stafford has some accuracy issues, but we're not talking Kyle Boller here. Plus, unlike Boller Stafford showed marked improvement in his three-year run in Athens (whereas Boller really only became semi-decent his senior year at Cal). Anyway, QBs are always a risky pick, but I love Stafford and expect him to lead Detroit out of the toilet within a few years.

2. Mark Sanchez will also be a star. For which team, I doesn't know. But I'm a big fan of Sanchez. Which leads me to...

3. BUST ALERT! BUST ALERT! Josh Freeman is terrible. I wouldn't touch him with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. Never got better, accuracy got worse and didn't step up his game when the talent around him was weak. Remember when Jay Cutler was at Vandy? Sure, they still lost a ton of games, but his talent kept the Commodores in games they had no business being in. Again: STAY AWAY FROM JOSH FREEMAN!

4. The more I think about it, it's laughable that Knowshon Moreno might be selected ahead of Chris Wells. Moreno is a good player, and will probably be a consistent 1,200-yard guy, but Wells possesses otherworldly talent. And if I'm a GM I don't mind swinging and missing on a potential superstar over safe and steady. You can always find a serviceable running back, but you rarely can find a superstar.

5. Maybe I'm wrong about Jeremy Maclin, but I don't understand the love affair with him. I know he has all the measurables and the big plays on his resume, but I just don't see him as an explosive player at the next level.

6. You see Michael Crabtree as slow and I remind you of Michael Irvin, Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson. Passing Crabtree up for speed concerns would be foolish.

7. Has Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey ever done anything to warrant a first-round selection? He's big and fast, I get it. But there are a lot of those guys. And where's the production? And tell me all you want about Maryland's shaky QB situation and I'll throw Reggie Ball in your face. Reggie Ball, in case you've forgotten, is the inaccurate (or as Jesse Palmer says, unaccurate) gentleman who delivered balls to the ultra-productive Calvin Johnson at Georgia Tech.

8. Percy Harvin, now here's a first rounder. Aside from smoking a ton of weed (which isn't a big deal), there's no reason why he isn't one of the top eight or ten prospects in this year's draft. Hell, I'm not sure I've seen eight or ten better collge football players in my lifetime (seriously!), and his skills -- regardless of what picky scouts tell you -- do translate to the next level. Okay, I understand he might need to work on his route running, but I'll take A+++++++++++++ feet and A+++++++++++++ speed and A+++++++++++++ production at the highest level when I can find them.

9. Assuming Wisconsin's Travis Beckum is fully healthy (and just as explosive as he was in '06 and '07), he's the best receiving tight end in the draft...and Rice's James Casey's right on his tail...

10. My RB rankings: (1.) Wells, (2.) LeSean McCoy (aka LeBlack McBlack), (3.) Shonn Greene, (4.) Moreno, (5.) Donald Brown, (6.) Glen Coffee (839.) James Davis.

(Note: As much as I don't believe in James Davis as an NFL runner, he very easily could run for 1,100 yards next year. All running backs are good. Or, at least it seems that way.)

11. James Laurinaitis should not be a first round pick, and isn't in Rey Maualuga's stratosphere.

12. You want 3rd-round red flags who might just put your defense over the hump, I give you Ohio State CB Donald Washington and LSU DT Ricky Jean-Francois.

13. You want sleeperific wideouts, I give you Marshall's Darius Passmore, BYU's Austin Collie and Oregon State's Sammie Stroughter.

14. You want the sleepiest sleeper who'll likely go undrafted, I give you Buffalo QB Drew Willy. I'm telling you, I watched him several times this year (thanks goes to both the Vickers System and ESPN2 for televising unwatchable games on Tuesday night) and the guy can play. His arm is good enough, as is his accuracy. And he won at friggin' Buffalo, after dealing with years and years of crap, which suggests he's mentally tough. You watch: Undrafted or not, Drew Willy's on an NFL roster next year, and all the GMs who thought it was wise to pick Michigan State's Brian Hoyer, A & M's Stephen McGee or Fresno's Tom Brandstater over Willy will be kicking themselves.

*****That is all*****

Draft recap coming, you know, after the draft.

-Brad Spieser (


Daniel Phillips said...

3 things

1. Sanchez will end up being a better qb than Stafford.

2. Moreno will have a better career than Wells.

3. Percy Harvin won't be anything. He's probably about 5-10 with alot of quickness. He's not an every down reciever, he's more like a trick play or wildcat guy to me. Doesn't have very good hands and can't run routes.